The UK Government’s Strategy for International Development 


17/05/2022


On 16th May 2022, the UK Government published their ‘Strategy for International Development’, which lays out the government’s new approach to international development.

The Strategy will focus on four main themes: (1) delivering honest and reliable investment, (2) providing women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed, (3) providing life-saving humanitarian assistance, and (4) taking forward the UK’s work on climate change, nature, and health.
Atticus Communications have summarised the key components of the strategy. 

Overview 

The strategy sets the direction for all the UK’s development work and revisits the UK’s approach to international development in light of global challenges, such as climate change, biodiversity loss and the pandemic, building on the Integrated Review. The FCDO will oversee the cross-government efforts to deliver the strategy.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said the International Development Strategy will “give direction to our future priorities, building a distinct UK offer to support countries to make progress, secure investment, build resilient economies and institutions, and unleash their population’s potential.”

A new International Development Strategy 

British Investment Partnerships 

Through British Investment Partnerships, the UK will work with both government and private sector partners:
  • £8billion of UK-backed financing will be mobilised a year by 2025 including from the private sector, targeting the main barriers to investment 
  • The Clean Green Initiative, launched at COP26, Is the climate pillar of the British Investment Partnerships, supporting countries to grow their economies sustainably 
  • British International Investment (BII) – the UK’s development finance institution will deliver high quality and sustainable investments across sectors from renewable energy to digital infrastructure, deepening the UK’s engagement in Africa and South Africa and entering new markets in the Indo-Pacific and Caribbean. BII has a new target for 30% of new commitments over 5 years to be in climate finance
  • British Support for Infrastructure Projects (BSIP) is a new programme which will facilitate concessional loans to help partner governments access high quality and affordable infrastructure finance 
  • By using the FCDO’s balance sheet to provide UK guarantees, the UK Government will unlock an additional $3 billion of climate finance for partner countries from the World Bank Group and African Development Bank 
  • UK Export Finance will increase its support to clean and green infrastructure in developing and emerging markets and increase its presence in key countries to support international partners to access direct lending and guarantees 

Provide women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed

The Government’s new approach is framed around Three Es – education, empowerment and ending violence and will be set out in full in the UK’s 2022 Women and Girls Strategy. 

Education 

The UK Government will:
  • Mobilise their partnerships and investments behind the G7 commitment to get 40 million more girls in school and 20 million more girls reading by age 10 by 2026
  • Build effective education systems with skilled staff and break down barriers to girls staying and thriving in school, including poverty, disability, early marriages, conflict and crises 
  • Deploy UK expertise and institutions on higher education, skills and scholarships to develop future leaders and build prosperity and stability in partner countries

Empowerment 

The UK Government will:
  • Drive progress on universal, comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) including on the fight to end female genital mutilation (FGM) and other harmful practices 
  • Work to ensure women’s voices are heard at all social, political and economic levels
  • Improve economic security for women and girls, targeting the longstanding inequalities women and girls face including unpaid care burden, and lack of access and control over land, finance, digital connectivity and skills

Ending Violence 

The UK Government will:
  • Strengthen global action against sexual violence in conflict, through a new Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict (PSVI) strategy, including the Foreign Secretary’s convention initiative 
  • Scale up prove approaches to prevent violence, including domestic violence, sexual violence, child marriage, modern slavery and abuse and harassment in the aid sector
  • Support survivors to safely access the support they need, including integrated gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health services 

Step up life-changing humanitarian work 

The UK Government will focus on three priorities:
  • Providing humanitarian assistance to people in greatest need and providing them with what they need and providing them with what they need most to recover from crisis 
  • Protecting the people most at risk, including from conflict-related sexual violence and barriers to humanitarian assistance
  • Preventing and anticipating future shocks and building resilience in long-running crises by tackling the underlying drivers of crises, instability and extreme food insecurity 

Take forward the work on climate change, nature and global health 

Tackle climate change and protecting nature 

The UK Government will:
  • Double their International Climate Finance (ICF) contribution to at least £11.6 billion between 2021-2026
  • Ensure that a new bilateral UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) aligns with the Paris Agreement 2023
  • Ensure all new UK bilateral aid spending does no harm to nature, aligning with the international goal to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030
  • Support the Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity recommendations, working with others to protect at least 30% of the ocean and 30% of the land globally by 2030 

Improve global health 

The UK Government will:
  • Invest in increasing access to vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics (VTDs) and to life0sacving medicines to reduce the impact of COVID-19 and other diseases
  • Promote a “One Health” approach to preventing and responding to health threats, reflecting the link between the health of people, animals and the environment 
  • Work towards ending preventable deaths of mothers, babies and children, investing both bilaterally and through initiatives such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria 

The approach and distinct UK offer

The UK Government want to have more and closer bilateral partnerships that support countries to succeed as open, free nations. 
  • The FCDO will rebalance its ODA investments from multilateral towards bilateral channels
  • By 2025 the FCDO intends to spend around three-quarters of its funding allocated at the 2021 Spending Review through country and bilateral programmes
  • The UK Government will increase its investment in research on ‘what works’ and science and technological innovations to accelerate progress on development priorities
  • The Government will develop and scale solutions to address challenges in agriculture and the food system that cut across our development priorities through the Gilbert Initiative, BII and our bilateral investments 

Delivering development in partnership

Reduce bureaucracy 

The UK Government will:
  • Give authority to Ambassadors and High Commissioners, development experts and partners across government to take quick and effective decisions about how to achieve the goals set out in the Strategy
  • Reduce the time it takes FCDO to approve a business case for programmes under £40m in value to less than 6 weeks – currently it can take many months 
  • Make the online Aid Management Platform system more efficient and more automated 
  • Empower senior responsible owners (SROs) to apply proportionality, a principle of the Programme Operating Framework, to how ODA programmes are managed, so that smaller projects have the agility necessary to exploit opportunities and operate efficiently, while ensuring at the same time that large programmes have appropriate controls and oversight 
  • Create a Director General position within the FCDO responsible for humanitarian and development work

Allocate aid to achieve goals 

The UK Government will:
  • Continue to monitor future forecasts closely and, each year over the period, will review and confirm, in accordance with the International Development (Official Development Assistance Target) Act 2015, whether a return to spending 0.7% of GNI on ODA is possible against the latest fiscal forecast 
  • Channel the majority of ODA towards low-income countries where there is a clear commitment to progress 
  • Target work in Fragile and Conflict Affected States (FCAS) to address the drivers and causes of crises 
  • Work more with middle-income countries (MICs) who are central to the achievement of global commitments

Strategy Implementation

To support implementation and drive coherence across the whole of the UK Government:
  • Ambassadors and High Commissioners will be accountable for cross-government objectives in all countries 
  • The HMG-wide governance framework will be refreshed to provide insight, monitor implementation, measure progress, share learning, identify opportunities for collaboration and drive coherence 
  • Expertise of the private sector, civil society and academia will be drawn upon to advice and challenge the Government on implementation 
  • All ODA spending departments will remain accountable for the expenditure of their ODA and will report on progress in implementing the Strategy and the SDGs in their annual reports and accounts